Wednesday, May 4, 2016

witnesses of the gospel

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things."
Luke 24:45-48

And with this last instruction and command, Jesus handed over the future of His church to His apostles. They were sent to take His good news to the entire world. The gospel was their charge. It was all in their hands and they would empowered by the Holy Spirit to carry it forward. They understood now that all the scriptures pointed to Christ's death and resurrection and mankind's great need to repent and receive the forgiveness of sins. This saving gospel was to be told to the nations, starting at Jerusalem. Those eleven disciples were the thin band of evangelists called to share what they had lived for the past three years. They would live the rest of their lives, and die for this message of the gospel.

And in the two millennia since this time, Christ's followers must still be faithful to this sort of apostolic ministry of preaching the gospel. That has not changed. It is still the world's great need. We must understand that Christ's atoning work is THE MESSAGE of the Scriptures, and that proclaiming His death and resurrection for our repentance and the forgiveness of sins is our work in all the world. It makes the church, the church. As Jesus has transformed us, we are witnesses of these things too!

Lord Jesus,
I have a purpose with which to center my life and my joy. It is You. It is Your redeeming sacrifice and victory over death. It is Your transforming life over sin and the grave. The gospel is my defining hope and all that I need. And may its message indelibly saturate my life in my words and deeds, stained by the blood of Your cross, so that my life both in my words and my deeds may be used by You to be witness to Your great saving life!

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